Why use Perl when we've got Python?!

John Stevens jstevens at bamboo.verinet.com
Fri Aug 13 23:13:52 EDT 1999

In comp.lang.perl.misc, you wrote:
>     [courtesy cc of this posting mailed to cited author]
>In comp.lang.perl.misc, 
>    "John W. Stevens" <jstevens at basho.fc.hp.com> writes:
>:Which makes Perl perfect for the lone programmer who comes from a
>:Unix/C/Shell background, and who has no OO training.
>That statement is trivially countered by demonstrating the zillions of
>Perl OO modules people, have distributed to parties unknown to them.

Zillions?  Are you sure that this isn't a slight exageration?

After all, if what you say re: 100x's of times more Perl users
than Python, then even if OO were a much less used paradigm on
Perl than it is on Python, you'd still expect to see more.

Most importantly: I am not talking about absolutes, here.

A obsessively quality concious, extremely disciplined, very
experienced assembly language code writer can produce highly
efficient, easily maintained code.

The issue isn't one programmer, or even examples of many, but
statistical comparisons.  The existence of a body of Perl code,
being maintained by a group that has a high turn over rate,
does not invalidate my point.

Compare costs, defect rates, etc. across many such groups,
and then you will have some data to work with.

>I completely disbelieve this "lone programmer" crud, and challenge you
>to defend it.

I've seen it repeatedly.  Somebody wants to do something.  They
drag in Perl.  They write in Perl.  Management gets all hot
about it, decides to support it, then the headaches hit.

>I suspect that you're confusing "bad programmer" with
>"lone programmer".

No, I'm not.  I suspect, however, that you are confusing your
level of ability with "the average Perl programmer".

>A bad programmer will make code that you wouldn't
>want to try to share and reuse.


>A good programmer makes good code.

Also agreed.  The issue isn't the lone programmer!  The issue is
*groups* of programmers: teams, in relationship to an organization.

>Please don't pretend that you can't do that in Perl, or that it hasn't
>been done.

I haven't.  I won't.  The issue isn't what can and cannot be done,
the issue is the margin: which is *better*, on the average?  Which
has lower costs?  Which has lower defect rates.

The fact that you, personally, can write low defect, highly
maintainable Perl code is not the issue: the issue is the
average programmer, in the average organization, who has the
average amount of training.

>That there exist millions of horrible script kiddies with
>CGI written all over them doesn't change any of this.

Actually, yes, it does.  Think about it.

John S.

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